'Dogs sock 46-6 defeat on Rangers

By Jamie Combs

   The Bulldogs sputtered for nearly two quarters, then high-powered Hampton football garnished the field like parsley on the side of a plate.
   Getting a Kevin Harrison touchdown catch shortly before halftime, and striking fast and hard in the third quarter, Hampton enjoyed a 46-6 homecoming win over the scrappy but outmanned Unaka Rangers at J.C. Campbell Stadium on Friday night.
   "We had a good effort," said Harrison. "We're coming together pretty well, and we'll be ready for the playoffs."
   Said Unaka head coach Mike Ensor: "Hampton's a good football team. They're strong, they're athletic, they're physical and they're well-coached."
   Reeling off its sixth consecutive victory, Hampton (6-1) did find underdog Unaka (1-6) to be quite bothersome in the early going as the opening quarter ended in a scoreless tie.
   Fullback Jimmy Sarrett's first touchdown of the season, on a 1-yard run, and a Mitchell Morton two-point conversion put Hampton ahead 8-0 less than a minute into the second quarter, but the Rangers continued to hang tough the rest of the half.
   "I guess that week off kind of laid on us a little bit," said Bulldog head coach J.C. Campbell, whose club was open last week.
   Backed up deep in their own territory with about four minutes to go until intermission, the 'Dogs started picking up the pace when Michael Peterson broke loose for a 43-yard run. Two plays later, Morton hit Harrison, who worked himself wide open in the Unaka secondary, for a 41-yard TD pass and 14-0 halftime score.
   "We've got four or five people that can get the job done there," Harrison said of Hampton's offense. "I just got behind everybody and caught the pass. It helped out a lot."
   Campbell said Harrison's visit to the end zone was key.
   "That was a big lift there," he said. "They were putting everybody on the line of scrimmage playing man-to-man, and we hadn't done anything with it there. We had stunk it up there, thrown it everywhere, got sacked and everything else."
   Unaka, though, was still in the game at the break.
   "We hung with them for a half," Ensor said. "We moved the ball a little bit the first half, then I think their size and strength and numbers just took over in the second half. Of course we had two or three starters out with injuries, and that limited what we could do offensively. Then we lost our quarterback (Jeremy Cook) about halfway through the third quarter, and we just can't recover from those things."
   With the Rangers quickly wearing down, Hampton erupted for 26 points in a six-minute span of the third quarter. Morton cut loose for a 35-yard scoring run, Peterson scored from a yard out, Eric Swain hauled in a 21-yard TD pass from Morton and Cody Farmer scampered 36 yards to paydirt for the 'Dogs, who got a couple of extra-point kicks from Cody Walsh.
   Defense played an important role in the Bulldog outburst as Hampton parlayed fumble recoveries by Sarrett and Robby England plus a Morton interception into three of those touchdowns.
   "I feel good about us coming out in the second half, after not playing too well, and going after them pretty good," Campbell said. "Unaka's a lot better than they were last year. They just got tired and made their mistakes. They gave us the ball in easy field position in the third period there. They were playing well until then."
   His team trailing 40-0, Cody Hurley showed the third quarter wasn't all bad for the Rangers as he galloped for a touchdown on an 88-yard kickoff return.
   Hampton's Jacob Moss tallied the final points of the night, recording a 12-yard TD run with 6:07 remaining in the game.
   Solid line play anchored by senior guard Brad Hodge helped the 'Dogs rack up 444 yards of offense. Peterson was the main man on the ground, gaining 105 yards on 18 carries. Shining in reserve roles, Farmer carried seven times for 68 yards and Jonathan Potter seven times for 46 yards.
   "Our freshman fullback (Potter) ran the ball real well," Campbell said. "I knew Cody Farmer could, and he ran real well. Little Luke (Roark) did a good job at quarterback. Some of the linemen that went in there and played did a pretty decent job for a quarter."
   Sarrett harvested 11 tackles and notched his first two career interceptions to lead the Hampton defense, which surrendered only 69 yards. Corey McKinney came up with 10 tackles, and Harrison and England chipped in seven hits apiece.
   Unaka was topped by Joey Parlier with 13 tackles and a fumble recovery, and Andrew Richardson with a nine-tackle performance. Cook and Charles Guinn each had eight hits, with Guinn grabbing an interception.
   "I'm pleased," Ensor said. "The main thing, like I told my guys, is we played hard -- and that's all you can really ask out of our guys. They played their tails off the whole first half. If we do that next week, we're going to have a good shot at winning the football game and going to the playoffs."
   The Rangers can clinch a playoff berth with a win next week at North Greene, while Hampton can lock up a No. 1 playoff seed by defeating West Greene on the road.